It’s pretty easy and natural for new parents to love their baby. But how to create lifelong healthy habits for ourselves and our little one requires a little more effort! Here are three ways new parents and baby can live healthier, happier lives together:
1. Better Sleep
Newborns typically sleep for 16 or more hours a day, but only for a few hours at a time, whether it’s daytime or nighttime. A newborn’s sleeping pattern tends to be erratic and pauses any chance of a restful night’s sleep for a new mom and dad. And we all know how frustrating one sleepless night can be, not to mention months of them.
A swaddle blanket replicates a mother’s womb and soothes baby into a calmed state for sound sleeping and napping. Swaddling helps baby wake up less and experience twice as much REM sleep, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. It helps prevent the startle reflex, an involuntary reflex that causes baby’s arms and legs to flail and startles them awake. Swaddling also helps keep baby sleeping on his or her back, which can lower the risk of SIDS. A swaddled, well-rested baby is a happy baby — and that means you’re a happier parent with better sleep, too.
2. Daily Exercise
Daily exercise not only revs up our metabolism and keeps our weight in check, but it serves as a natural energy booster, too. Physical activity gets the heart pumping and oxygen flowing, which ultimately boosts energy levels. A simple 30-minute workout can re-energize your body, lower stress and enhance your mood.
Go jogging around the park or take walks in your neighborhood while pushing the stroller. Not only will the outdoors feel refreshing, but you can bond with baby while staying active. Invite other parents and their babies to stroll around the mall as a way to get moving and socialize. Only have 20 minutes to spare? Jill Brown, a Gold’s Gym fitness instructor in Venice Beach, offers a quick and easy full-body workout you can do right at home.
3. Healthy Foods
Regular exercise and a healthy diet go hand in hand, and while new parents may be hard-pressed for time to shop for healthy ingredients and cook meals, it’s worth it — following a balanced diet sets the standard for your household. Organic and/or local harvest foods – whole grains, lean meats, fruit and vegetables will also help improve your mental health, boost your mood, increase energy levels and extend your life expectancy.
What about the little one? Breastfeeding provides all of the essential vitamins and nutrients that your baby needs. Breastfeeding can also protect against chronic conditions and nurture a close bond between mom and baby.
At around four to six months, baby will be ready to start on solid food. You can make your own homemade fresh and nutritious baby food at home, if you wish — just be sure to follow this guide from HealthyChildren.org. Or, try the Plum Organics line of organic baby food; they carry convenient meals, healthy snacks and fruits and veggies in resealable pouches for on-the-go feeding. Plum Organics food grow with baby too and are available for tots, kids and even you.
Make sure you give your baby the best chance a healthy life by living a green, natural, and organic lifestyle!